In last weeks’ reading of the Hebrew scriptures:

download(As a reminder, I, the fundamentalist with Mad Bible Skills, have started re-reading the Bible, from Gen. 1, using a guide I loaded onto my phone. Obviously, people read the Bible and find different things. Here’s what I found last week:)

I’m in the book of Exodus, where God has come down to tell Moses, Aaron and their people what’s what through what we know as the Ten Commandments, though those Big 10 in now way encompass all the laws. Although  most people would skip over the rules as they would the long and exhaustive list of begats, I, a fundamentalist, was intrigued by them — though I must admit to skimming the specifics of Aaron’s breastplate.

Though this is in no way an exhaustive recount, here are some rules to live by, if you’re an ancient Israelite following Moses:

  1. Slavery’s OK, but there are rules in how to deal with your slaves.
  2. The rules are better if you’re a male slave, with multiple ways of getting out of servitude. If you’re a woman, not so much although there is an odd provision in Exodus 21:26 that follows the whole eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth that says if a slave owner knocks out the tooth of a slave — male or female — that slave can go free.
  3. If you’re a child born into slavery, forget about it. You’re pretty much screwed.
  4. Capital punishment appears to be the punishment of choice, with death the end result of everything from killing someone else, to allow your ox to kill someone else (if it happens over the course of time, and your ox goes after more than one person) to kidnappers to cursers-of-parents.

And then there was this one (RSV): “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” That might have something in there for people today. In the midst of all this carnage — stoning, goring, putting people to death — is a reminder from God that strangers who live among us are to be treated well.

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